Kobayashi Marie continues its adventure into the third season of Star Trek Discovery with Episode 7 – Unification III
In its desire to serve the many, the Federation ignored the needs of the few.
An episode that, for all, it is set in a very different Federation and Starfleet, still has its roots deep in the type of Star Trek we are used to from TOS and The Next Generation. The connection to the Spock (Leonard Nimoy) we first met in the original series is obvious; and although it’s not necessary to watch episodes 7 and 8 of The Next Generation Season 5 (named Unification I and Unification II), it is nice to revisit and see how everything fits together. But the real connection with these two early series is the argument of logic, the courtroom arena, and the Vulcan and Romulan interaction which is so reminiscent of franchises past.
As with the best Trek courtroom scenes, there needs to be a good advocate backing our protagonist, and it was a huge surprise to discover that Michael Burnham’s (Sonequa Martin-Green) advocate is not only of the Qowat Milat (a welcome nod to the recent Picard series) but is also her mother Gabrielle (Sonja Sohn). I know we’d been wondering what happened to her, but I will admit that it didn’t even cross my mind that she might turn up on Vulcan, or Ni’Var as it is now known. When Ni’Var President T’Rina (Tara Rosling) said that Michael’s advocate had a special interest in the argument I presumed that person would be a distant descendant of Spock, not an immediate antecedent of Michael! We are reminded, however, that the Qowat Milat will bind only to lost causes, so things do not look that good for Michael before she even starts.
Of course, amid all the logic and facts, Michael is still human and feeling emotions keenly. She has evidently been feeling like she doesn’t belong with Discovery in its new situation and has been doubting her role. Addressing the Quorum, and having her mother challenge her, both lead her to conclude that she does belong, Discovery is her home, and that she can demonstrate her trustworthiness without having to have it returned. It did feel like Michael has completed a bit of an arc in these half-dozen episodes, and will now be able to focus on her next task – finally uncovering the origin of The Burn, with or without data from SB-19. I fear it may not be quite as straightforward as it seems.
Change is afoot among the officer roles too. Saru (Doug Jones) needed to appoint himself a new Number One, and has chosen Tilly (Mary Wiseman) as Acting Number One. Just how successful that will be is intriguing. Pleased as I am that Tilly’s obvious strong relationship with Saru is being acknowledged, I can’t help but think that at this stage she would have been better as an adviser. It will be interesting to see her take over the bridge during an attack or stressful situation in Saru’s absence and see how she gets on. It could be the making of her; we will see.
And Saru continues in his diplomatic ways. He may still be a little naïve as a captain, but he made good progress in smoothing the path for future collaboration between what remains of The Federation and Ni’Var.
I’m on board with Admiral Vance (Oded Fehr) too and like his leadership style. I’m not quite sure why the floor of the headquarters he leads needs to appear just one step ahead of them as they walk across it. It makes me feel queasy just watching it, and I don’t see any reason for it being like that other than for effect. But then, that’s the 32nd century, I guess.